AC Milan have sacked manager Vincenzo Montella, after a difficult start to the season has seen the Rossoneri slip to seventh in the Serie A table.

Gennaro Gattuso, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and made over 400 appearances for the seven-time European Cup winners, has been promoted from his role of AC Milan's youth team manager and appointed in charge of the first team.

"AC Milan announce to have parted ways with Vincenzo Montella," a club statement released on their official Twitter account read.

"Management of the first team is entrusted to Gennaro Gattuso, who leaves his position as Primavera coach and to whom we wish the best of luck."

In the summer, the Rossoneri invested almost €200m (£178m) on players, in a bid to strengthen the squad and return to the Champions League for the first time since 2014. However, despite a flurry of arrivals, including the likes of Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci, Fiorentina striker Nicola Kalinic, Portugal international Andre Silva and Lazio midfielder Lucas Biglia, they have won just six of their 14 league games.

Having hit the ground running by winning 10 of their opening 12 games in all competitions, the feel good factor around Montella's side quickly petered out and Sunday's (26 November) 0-0 draw at home against Torino was their fourth successive home league game without a goal.

While they have already qualified for the next stage of the Europa League with a game to spare, Milan have won just twice in the last nine Serie A games and trail league leaders Napoli by 18 points, while arch-rivals Inter Milan are 16 points ahead.

Worryingly for the Chinese investment group Sino-Europe Sports, which bought the club from Silvio Berlusconi for approximately €520m in the summer, Milan are already nine points of fifth place, the last spot which guarantees European football for Serie A clubs.

Leonardo Bonucci
Bonucci was Milan's star signing of the summer but has failed to produce the form he showed with Juventus. Getty Images

Milan's poor form and Montella's perceived inability to get the best out of the glut of summer signings spelt the end of the former Sampdoria striker, who had signed a two-year deal when he moved to the San Siro at the beginning of last season.

However, it remains to be seen whether Gattuso, a battling midfielder who played for Milan between 1999 and 2013, winning two Serie A titles and the Champions League twice, will be given the job on a permanent basis.

His managerial career has so far failed to mirror the success of his playing days and it has taken the former Rangers midfielder from Swiss side Sion to Palermo in Serie B and then onto to Greek outfit OFI Crete, before returning to Italy to manage Pisa.

The 39-year-old steered the Tuscan side to Serie B in the 2015-16 season. However, he left the club abruptly shortly before the beginning of their campaign in Italy's second division, only to return a month later.